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Two Guys, One Deck: Stark Banner of the Rose

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In this article series, Aaron and I will be building a deck together and providing you with the fruits of our labor (along with some discussion along the way). In each article we will choose a specific deck to build and present our deck building process to you in a conversational style.

Alex
What do you have in mind? There are several ways to approach this series: Jaime-style decks, fun combo decks, focus on specific faction and agenda combinations, test specific ideas or theories, a melee deck with any of these focuses?

Aaron
Let’s start with an underexplored Jaime deck.

A ‘Jaime’ deck for us is one that is built to be tournament viable, which means that it can handle (ideally in practice, but at least theoretically) what are considered the top decks at the moment.

Alex
So no Baratheon, Lannister, or Targaryen.

Aaron
There has to be a Stark deck we haven’t properly examined.

Alex
I’ve been curious about a Stark and Tyrell ‘power rush’ deck. Not necessarily fast (like first edition rush), but prioritizing power gain over other game state considerations.

Sansa is a great engine for generating power and Robb and Eddard work really well against Baratheon. Bran for event cancels helps against Seen in Flames and the kill events. The Knight of Flowers also fits into the deck at 5 gold over Grey Wind pretty easily.

All the Lords and Ladies make Bodyguard and Seal of the Hand easy to run x3 in the deck.

Aaron
Agreed. Randyll Tarly belongs as well since he is a power gaining engine.

Randyll, Loras, Sansa x2 each. A good start.

Alex
I think two copies of A Noble Cause may be required if we intend to use Eddard, Robb, and Randyll.

I started with three copies of Sansa because she is good on setup and since she generates one power each turn you want to have her as early as possible in each game.

Aaron
Too vulnerable to burn. I think only running two copies is best.

This comment from Aaron is a particularly valuable ‘Jaime’ insight into deck building. Obviously for this deck Sansa x3 is a good choice, however, when taking other top decks into consideration, it is less valuable than it seems. Targaryen is just too prevalent to count on Sansa staying in play for long.

Alex
I also had a single copy of Summer in the deck, for potential Arya, Bran, or Sansa recursion, but only having one copy makes it a non-setup card, so I cut it.

Summer is terrible in this deck without the interaction and this deck cannot afford to hold onto the card and wait for the right time to use it. If it were non-unique then we could use two or three copies and not worry about losing the effect if we have to play it sooner, but unfortunately, Summer is unique.

In regards to burn, Margaery helps against that, but should we also include Lady and/or Ice for their respective STR boosts?

Aaron
Definitely include Ice.

Alex
Ice x2 since we have a limited number of targets for it with so many Tyrell characters.

I have two copies of Summons in the deck instead of two copies of A Noble Cause. Thoughts?

Aaron
Two Summons seems right.

A Noble Cause, Sneak Attack, Calm Over Westeros, Marched to the Wall, A Clash of Kings and Confiscation.

Alex
With 2 Summons that makes 8 plots. And I have Calling the Banners instead of Sneak Attack or Calm Over Westeros.

Aaron
Cut A Clash of Kings or a Summons.

Sneak Attack is a closer and we need an opener like Calm Over Westeros.

Alex
A better  closer than A Clash of Kings?

Aaron
Maybe not, but I want three 5 gold plots.

Alex
Calm Over Westeros, A Noble Cause, and I have Calling the Banners.

Along with A Clash of Kings, Confiscation, Marched to the Wall, and two Summons.

Which makes 8 plots, I actually don’t have Calm Over Westeros in my list right now. Maybe we cut Marched to the Wall for it?

Aaron
We can do without Marched to the Wall–it just makes me sad.

Alex
Agreed, but this deck isn’t destructive, so we build it a bit differently than other decks.

I think Calm Over Westeros instead of Marched to the Wall would be okay for this deck.

Aaron
True, but we still need a bit of removal.

Alex
So for plots I have: Calm Over Westeros, A Clash of Kings, A Noble Cause, Calling the Banners, Confiscation, and two Summons.

A case can be made for Sneak Attack instead of Calling the Banners, but since this isn’t a destructive deck that is trying to eliminate the opponent’s board, Calling the Banners can result in some big money turns.

Aaron
Fair enough, let’s go with those plots.

We also need to make room for one copy of Heartsbane.

Alex
The Hand’s Judgement and Bran for protection or is that excessive?

Aaron
Excessive, change The Hand’s Judgement to Put to the Torch for now.

Alex
Which locations do you have in mind for that?

Aaron
Mostly thinking about The Red Keep and The Wall, those locations can shut us down.

Alex
Let’s talk about the 2 cost characters for filling in the curve. I threw in Arbor Knight instead of Tumblestone Knight initially, but I think that is wrong since Tumblestone Knight has a power icon.

By filling in the curve, I am talking about making sure the deck has enough low cost cards that can be played in setup. This typically means that you fill in your deck with a lot of 1 and 2 cost characters and/or locations (especially non-Limited). Our discussion is mostly focused around the big characters and overall strategies with an unstated understanding that 20-30 cards are resources and curve filler. However, there can be some strategic considerations when deciding which filler cards to use, as we are discussing here in regards to the challenge icons.

Aaron
Agreed, two Tumblestone Knights, and two Courtesans of the Rose.

Alex
Is Summons x2 enough draw? Should we use For the North?

Should Catelyn Stark be x2 since she can protect us in the burn matchup?

Aaron
Two copies of Cat, no For the North. Our best military character isn’t Stark.

Alex
We don’t have any other options for draw, so we’ll just rely on top-decking to work out for us since Summons can get the characters we need and we should be able to protect them well enough to keep them in play.

Aaron
Exactly, maintain our board. We’re less vulnerable to Varys because of our duplicates and Bodyguards.

Alex
Should Left and Right even be included at all? Should we just include a third Tumblestone Knight and Courtesan of the Rose instead?

Aaron
One copy of Left and Right is good with two Summons.

And let’s cut Put to the Torch for two more characters.

This is an important consideration since we have just established that we have virtually no draw in the deck. It means that any situational cards in the deck can really hurt if we draw into those when we are top-decking. For this reason, many decks that do not have draw engines cannot afford to play situational cards, certainly not many of them.

Or maybe two copies of Milk of the Poppy.

We have so many attachments that they aren’t especially weak to Confiscation. They could also bait out a Confiscation before we play a Seal of the Hand or Heartsbane or Ice.

Alex
Is Milk of the Poppy important for this deck?

Aaron
Yes, it shuts down some characters than can give us trouble.

Robert, Melisandre, Daenarys, etc.

It just buys us time.

Alex
I’ve also included Winter Is Coming because raising claim is good, but I would prefer having two extra characters instead of two copies of Milk of the Poppy. Could Winter Is Coming be cut for Milk of the Poppy instead (since both are non-setup cards)?

Aaron
Winter Is Coming is good. I think two Milk of the Poppy is better than two 2-cost characters.

And with that, our deck is finished. You can find the list below or view it on ThronesDB.

 

Two Guys, One Deck: Stark Banner of the Rose (#1)

 

Plots
1x A Clash of Kings (Core Set)
1x A Noble Cause (Core Set)
1x Calling the Banners (Core Set)
1x Calm Over Westeros (Core Set)
1x Confiscation (Core Set)
2x Summons (Core Set)

Characters
1x Rattleshirt’s Raiders (Core Set)
3x Arya Stark (Core Set)
3x Bran Stark (Core Set)
2x Catelyn Stark (Core Set)
2x Eddard Stark (Core Set)
2x Robb Stark (Core Set)
2x Sansa Stark (Core Set)
2x Tumblestone Knight (Core Set)
3x Winterfell Steward (Core Set)
1x Left (Core Set)
3x Margaery Tyrell (Core Set)
2x Randyll Tarly (Core Set)
1x Right (Core Set)
2x The Knight of Flowers (Core Set)
2x Courtesan of the Rose (Core Set)
3x Garden Caretaker (Core Set)

Locations
3x The Kingsroad (Core Set)
3x The Roseroad (Core Set)
2x Heart Tree Grove (Core Set)
1x Street of the Sisters (Taking the Black)

Attachments
3x Seal of the Hand (Core Set)
3x Bodyguard (Core Set)
3x Little Bird (Core Set)
2x Milk of the Poppy (Core Set)
2x Ice (Core Set)
1x Heartsbane (Core Set)

Event
3x Winter Is Coming (Core Set)

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Profile photo of Alex Kern (agktmte)
Alex Kern (agktmte)
Alex Kern has been playing Thrones since the summer of 2012. He is fortunate enough to live in the Tulsa area and plays locally at The Covenant Store. He currently writes two columns for The White Book: Two Guys, One Deck and The Deck Doctor. Both are centered around his favorite aspect of the game: deck building. If you ever want to talk shop about deck building, you can usually find him hanging out on the Discord server.

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